March 1, 2013

Children's Book: The Butterfly Workshop

The Butterfly Workshop by Gioconda Belli (illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch)


I'm a big admirer of German illustrator Wolf Erlbruch. The first time I came across his work was when I saw his book Duck, Death and the Tulip during my exchange studies at NUCA. I don't have that book in my collection yet, but I'm planning to get it one day because it's one of my favorite children's books (maybe, even the most favorite!).  

I was really glad to see that there are two books illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch available in Lithuania as well. It's important for children to have access to well-illustrated books especially in such a small country like Lithuania. 

Wolf Erlbruch is a master at creating unique characters. This is really evident in The Butterfly WorkshopEven the dog has so much emotion (see the fourth picture)! Erlbruch uses mixed media technique, combining cut and pasted paper, drawing, and painting. His illustrations have a lot of texture and patterns that enhance well-defined silhouettes of the characters.

Even though Gioconda Belli's story is for children, some adults, especially artists, could relate to the main character Odair. He is one of the "Designers of All Things" responsible for creating animals and flowers. However, Odair wishes to create a cross between a bird and a flower which is against the rules. One day he is banished to the insect factory to stop him from creating something that could cause a threat to the determinate order. Of course, that doesn't stop Odair from continuing to pursue his dream...